Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Posts tagged “Protest

A policeman rips the American flag away from 5-year-old Anthony Quinn, having already confiscated his ‘No More Police Brutality’ sign. Jackson, Mississippi; ca. 1965

vac8lFr

The guy in the background looks justifiably shocked. And yet is doing nothing.

In the South during the civil rights movement, the American flag was a potent symbol of support for racial integration (and support for federal law). Southerners who believed in racial segregation displayed Confederate flags instead. People were pulled from their cars by policemen and beaten simply for displaying an American flag on their license plates. So the simple act of a small child carrying an American flag represented defiance of Mississippi law and custom.

Anthony and his mother were arrested and hauled off to jail, which was a cattle stockade at the county fairground, since the city jails were already full of protesters. The Quinn protest was organized by COFO (Council of Federated Organizations), an umbrella organization responsible for most civil rights activities in the state. Today Anthony lives in Florida. I believe he is a lawyer. His mother died recently, and when Patrolman Kohler died a number of years ago, his obituary in the Jackson Daily News referred to this photograph and mentioned how Kohler regretted that moment ‘for the rest of his life’.”

Advertisements

Buddhist Monk Thich Quang Duc protests for Buddhist rights by self immolation, 1963.

the_burning_monk_colored_version

Basically, in the mid 1950s Ngô Đình Diệm rigged the election in south Vietnam and proclaimed that he was president. The U.S. supported this dude because he was anti-communist. Under his ‘rule’ a bunch of communists were rounded up and killed or imprisoned. Diem was also Catholic and not happy that 90% of Vietnam was Bhuddist. So he instigated a large number of discriminatory policies against Bhuddists, such as forced labor, increased taxes, reduced aid. Stuff like that & worse. Well, the U.S. continued to support this guy because he did what they wanted and they didn’t feel too worried about the religious discrimination. The Vietcong formed and began to start a civil war against Diem and they had a lot of support. Thich Quang Duc was a Bhuddist monk who saw what was happening and he knew it was wrong. He knew that there was no hope for South Vietnam if it remained so divided. He recognized that fighting against his countrymen for peace was absurd. So, in order to make his message ‘we can’t be successful if we persecute one another’ and ‘compassion and sacrifice are better than fighting’ be heard, he volunteered to self immolate in front of the Cambodian embassy in Saigon. His message though, was about the Vietnam war and every other war, it was about conflict, religious equality, acceptance, love, understanding, peace, and proving that he meant what he said, that peace is worth dying for.

Here is what he had to say before his death:

“Before closing my eyes and moving towards the vision of the Buddha, I respectfully plead to President Ngo Dinh Diem to take a mind of compassion towards the people of the nation and implement religious equality to maintain the strength of the homeland eternally. I call the venerables, reverends, members of the sangha and the lay Buddhists to organise in solidarity to make sacrifices to protect Buddhism.”

The BBC page has an excellent witness report: The Death of Thich Quang Duc